We’re always hearing about the huge benefits of STEAM education, but what does a STEAM education actually entail?
Is STEAM education the key to unlocking the hidden potential in millions of students worldwide? Can STEAM education prepare students to gain the 21st century skills needed to work in careers experiencing exponential growth?
As STEAM has gained popularity among educators, parents, administrators, and even corporations, it’s an important element in our society’s future as a whole.
Today, we’re covering everything you need to know about STEAM education and what it can bring to the future.
STEAM education is an approach to learning that prioritizes Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. The STEAM approach is designed to foster student inquiries, explorations, deeper discussions, and problem-solving.
While STEAM education might seem like it prioritizes hard skills, especially skills related to math and engineering, it is meant to help students develop other 21st century learning skills that are just as important when pursuing an education and an eventual career.
We know what STEAM education is, but how does it actually help all students learn more efficiently? STEAM encourages students to think creatively, ask thoughtful questions, and engage in more creative problem-solving in all of their lessons.
How students benefit from STEAM learning:
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM programming in educational spaces was prioritized due to concern that future generations were lacking the critical skills needed to drive our economy forward.
From its inception, STEM programming emphasized innovation, creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, and other crucial 21st century learning skills. However, it became increasingly clear that the arts field was needed to create the complete set of skills needed.
The difference between STEM learning and STEAM learning isn’t so much a difference, as it is a completion. STEAM’s inclusion of the arts creates a multi-disciplinary approach to important skills related to technology and human advancement.
While the ideas behind STEM education have been around since Leonardo da Vinci collided arts and science together in his works of art.
STEAM education is a new concept, but its adoption has been widely recognized and lauded by educators, students, and parents. Here’s the short, but important history of STEAM education so far:
Despite its short history, STEAM’s rapid adoption and tales of success have already spoken volumes. STEAM education is a reliable path to new ways of problem-solving, innovating, and purposefully linking fields of learning.
As the world becomes increasingly dependent on the skills associated with technology and STEAM, our students need to be equipped to fill the jobs of the future.
In addition, a more widespread adoption of STEAM education helps underserved youth pursue a career in STEAM and STEAM. This can help to provide all students with the access and education needed to pursue careers in STEAM.
STEAM statistics that need to be improved:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in STEAM pay a base salary that is almost 3x higher than non-STEAM positions, and the number of STEAM occupations is set to grow. In fact, an estimated 821,300 STEAM job openings will become available by 2030, and the median annual wage for STEAM jobs was $86,980 in 2019. Non-STEM jobs averaged annual wages of $38,160.
As the skills associated with STEAM become the prominent skills of the future workforce, students should be prepared to land those jobs, excel in their careers, and change the world for the better. It all starts with STEAM education.
Regardless of socio-economic status, geographic location, or school size, many studies have found that STEAM education leads to improvement in students’ achievements in both math and science.
A study published on ArtsEdSearch found that:
STEAM education provides new ways of exploring old topics. STEAM’s core aim is to have students navigate real-life experience through problem-solving. This allows students to immerse themselves in meaningful learning processes in every lesson.
STEAM education transforms every lesson plan into an action-based experience for students.
STEAM education fosters inclusivity and creativity. It allows every student a chance for real success in their education.
Suddenly, the student who is an active learner doesn’t need to sit in their seat through a long lecture about environmentalism. Instead, active learners can stand up, stretch out, and walk through a virtual field trip to the zoo using educational VR from Kai XR.
STEAM education can also employ virtual reality to increase critical thinking, empathy, and other crucial social and emotional skills needed to excel in school and in life.
More creative thinking is never a bad thing. With creative thinking and problem-solving at the heart of STEAM education, no question is too cumbersome and no problem is too big to explore.
There is a six-step process used to create a STEAM-centered classroom. Each step is designed to address problems and develop creative solutions to these problems. This process, in turn, can be applied to any problem a student might encounter, whether interpersonally or professionally.
Six steps to STEAM-Centered Classrooms:
STEAM learning sounds great. But how does an educator create a STEAM-powered classroom? How can an educator actually begin to facilitate STEAM learning?
Effective STEAM education does not mean ignoring literacy and language arts. In fact, it’s the opposite. STEAM education should connect literacy within its lessons. Most often, the literacy part of STEAM comes into play through communication.
For example, if a group of students solve a complicated engineering issue, they will also be tasked with communicating their processes, either through written word or verbal communication. Because STEAM education is so intertwined with problem-solving and teamwork, the communication element will always ensure literacy is connected in every lesson.
STEAM Literacy Examples:
In some circumstances, group projects become tiresome because they require the same framework repeated in the classroom. With these approaches, students are less engaged, less curious, and less likely to retain the lessons learned.
A typical group project looks like:
In these circumstances, the student with the best writing skills usually ends up doing the bulk of the work, because it’s the easiest solution. By the end of the many group projects, the students have only learned how to gather and regurgitate information.
In contrast, STEAM group projects allow for inquisitive questioning and deeper creative exploration.
A STEAM group project looks like:
Since STEAM lessons are always grounded in inquiry, problem-solving, and process-based learning, students invariably learn social skills as they engage in learning.
This is especially important for younger learners. Since younger children are more open to new ways of learning, they tend to understand social emotional learning practices faster than their adolescent counterparts.
Social emotional learning has huge benefits in school and in the world:
Examples of STEAM social emotional learning:
Augmented reality opens many amazing opportunities for science education. Research shows that AR can help students visualize and understand complex and unfamiliar concepts.
Using AR, students no longer have to rely on flat pictures of fossils to understand what the Earth looked like billions of years ago.
Using simple technology tools, students can actually watch the world come alive around them as they walk through it on a virtual field trip.
Examples of AR in a STEAM classroom:
Makerspaces are also central to a STEAM classroom. Makerspaces are workspaces where people with common interests can meet, socialize, and collaborate on shared interests. The maker movement in education is based on hands-on learning through building things.
Makerspaces are often used to explore interests in STEAM, like:
Makerspaces don’t need to be fully-equipped robotics labs to serve as effective STEAM learning devices. Instead, the most important element of a successful makerspace is that it’s a physical or digital space whose sole purpose is to facilitate creation.
Makerspaces can be set up with supplies to teach anything from paper-based construction to building kinetic machines. They are a great way to encourage students to try hands-on learning.
Makerspace Ideas for middle school STEAM classrooms:
Try out a digital makerspace right now! Kai XR Create is a drag-and-drop digital makerspace where your students can reach for the stars, touch down on the moon, and build a town that’s out of this world—all from their desks.
A great way to explore virtually any STEAM subject is through Kai XR’s field trips. Students can explore their interests in everything from engineering to the arts by voyaging on a field trip that requires no bus fare.
Field trips have been a staple of education in the United States for decades. However, they are on the decline due to budget constraints and an increased focus on standardized testing prep.
Despite their decline, field trips are still a powerful teaching tool, and a great way to increase students’ critical thinking, historical empathy, tolerance, and interest in various topics.
Kai XR virtual field trips to try:
At Kai XR, immersive learning can happen despite logistical and financial constraints. From their desks, students can both scour the depths of the sea and sail through the solar system.
Extended reality offers everyone the opportunity to broaden their worldview and immerse themselves in STEAM learning.
Ready to get started? Email us at email@example.com or give us a call at 510-993-0993 for more information. We look forward to connecting your classroom to enriching learning opportunities in this exciting digital space!
There’s so much for you and your students to explore. All you need to do is start. Try out Kai XR on your smart device, tablet, VR headset, or laptop. We’ll be your guide!
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